One designer, two authors, nine chapters, 28 library, archive and museum collections, and more than 300 illustrations: these are some of the ingredients that have gone into Holding on to Home: New Zealand Stories and Objects for the First World War which was launched by Te Papa Press last night.
When the First World War began, 100 years ago New Zealanders had no inkling of how far it would seep and storm into their lives. Kate Hunter, my co-author, and I have researched the material record of wartime New Zealand to expand our understandings of the war’s meanings for ordinary people – what they touched and what touched them. As a result, the two of us are convinced that the things that have survived from this time bring this distant event back into our hands.
Because objects and images have shaped the stories we tell, both Kate and I have taken up the challenge of choosing our top five Te Papa objects in the book. We have had plenty to select from - the objects illustrating this blog are just two out of the many that didn’t make it into the book. Above is the postcard that Percy Heenan sent to his fiancé on his way to the Western Front in 1917 and below is the embroidered cushion cover that convalescing soldier William Pauling started but did not finish.
Kate and I will reveal our selection on the newly-launched Te Papa channel this coming Monday 26 August – details to come. Before then, let us know what your top five are. Check out the book (available now from Te Papa Press and book stores) or pore over the 79 images on this Collections Online link and send a comment to this blog. Then on Monday, see whether or not the authors’ selection matches yours!